The Last Passenger

The flight to Seattle was expected to be full. Chuck still held out hope that the seat next to him would be unclaimed leaving the short row to himself. As passengers continued to file past him to their seats, he took out a Clorox wipe from his backpack and began disinfecting his arm rests and the TV screen mounted on the seat in front of him. Just as the flight attendant announced that the cabin door was being closed, he looked up to see the last passenger to board was standing over him. 

“Looks like you’re the lucky one. I’ve got the window seat,” said the plump, red-faced man with disheveled hair. Chuck unbuckled his safety belt and stepped into the aisle so his new neighbor could squeeze into his seat. He cringed as the stranger launched a violent sneeze which made a flight attendant jump. 

After they were both settled in, the stranger turned to Chuck and introduced himself. “Name’s Dwight.  Sorry I’m a little addled, I almost missed the flight. I think I’ll be okay once I take my medication,” Dwight grunted as he bent down to dig around in his brief case.

“Let me guess, Tamiflu?” Chuck was already wishing he had one of his disposable surgical face masks that he accidently left in his checked luggage.

“No, it’s for my kidney that used to belong to someone else,” Dwight sighed clutching a brown pill bottle in one hand and half-filled bottle of water in the other. “I had a transplant a couple of years ago.”

“Is the donor a friend of yours?” Chuck asked absently.

“Not really…it was my ex-wife.”

“Really!” Chuck was suddenly intrigued with the stranger. “Before you were divorced, I assume?”

“Oh yeah, but only about a year before. Things went south not long after the surgery. Can you believe that bitch asked the judge if she could have it back?” Dwight shook his head and frowned. “I think it was just a trick to get full custody of the dogs.”

“Good thing you got it when you did.” Chuck noticed that a passenger across the aisle was also listening in to the conversation with wide eyes.

“No doubt. I knew I was lucky before they even closed me up.” Dwight tossed a tiny white pill into his mouth and made loud gurgling noises as he drained his water bottle. He wiped his mouth with his sleeve. “The hell of it is though, every time I take one of these pills, I think of that mean-ass woman.”